First time ever - Saudi women enter stadium to watch soccer

Sergio Conner
January 13, 2018

Saudi women watch the football match between Al-Ahli against Al-Batin at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah.

Saudi Arabia has for the first time allowed women to spectate at a football match, part of an easing of strict rules on gender separation by the ultra-conservative Muslim country, a BBC News report said.

The King Abdullah Sports City stadium recorded history when it was for the first time that a major sporting event was open to women in the kingdom.

A Saudi woman is seen during the soccer match between Al Ahli against Al Batin at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah Saudi Arabia Jan 12 2018. Reuters

It's the latest of a number of firsts for Saudi women; later this year, they'll be able to drive.

These recent reforms are under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is attempting to make the Kingdom more moderate. On Saturday, the national stadium in the capital, Riyadh, will open its gates for women to attend a soccer game. The move is part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's ambitious project to modernise the Saudi society and boost its economy.

"Today the percentage of those who participate in exercise and sports is only 13 percent", said Hayfaa al-Sabban, who heads a sport organisation.

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